- 61% of US Marketers Use Social Media to Increase Lead Gen
- IBM saw an Increase of 400% in Sales in a Social Selling Pilot Program
- 55% of Buyers Search for Information on Social Media
- 75% of Buyers Likely to Use Social Media in the Purchase Process
Inside View created this awesome infographic that gathers together many statistics, ideas and examples about using social media to help drive leads and sales for B2B companies. You can look through the stats yourself, but here are some to consider:
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A Case Study in Social Media Demographics
There is little doubt that social media is a big deal in today's world. Adults and even children are starting to participate with the majority of people online having some attachment to social media in one form or another.
As sites like Digg and Reddit progress while sites like Pinterest emerge, there is one common player in everyone's discussion of social media. Facebook users have an average of 130 friends now. It's clear that our own expansion into social media is causing others to get involved by default. Will this trend continue? Will social media be as embedded into our lives 5 years from now as it is today?
Trends say yes, but history, particular on the internet, has proven that the mighty can fall and new shiny bouncing balls emerge all the time to replace the old ways. Will anyone ever beat Facebook?
(Source: Online MBA. Via: Mashable. Hat Tip: Automotive SEO.)
In a recent study of B2B marketers by BtoB Magazine, 59% of those surveyed answered that online lead generation is their biggest marketing challenge. While email is their number one source of online leads, only 13% of respondents reported that social media was their greatest driver of leads.
The survey broke out marketers from agency professionals, which yields a bleaker picture. 18% of agency respondents are getting more leads from social media than other sources, while only 11% of marketers are. The study also found that only 5% felt that social media was a mature and well-optimized part of their marketing mix. 55% of those surveyed revealed that they were in the early stages of social media, and 14% of B2B companies were not using social media at all.
Does this survey seem in line with your experience of social media to drive leads and become fully integrated in your B2B company’s marketing mix?
59% of B2B Marketers Find Driving Leads Online Their Biggest Challenge
57% of B2B Marketers Get More Leads from Email Than Any Online Other Source
20% of B2B Marketers Get More Leads from Paid Search Than Any Other Online Source
13% of B2B Marketers Get More Leads from Social Media Than Any Other Online Source
5% of B2B Companies Have Optimized Social Media into their Marketing Mix
55% of B2B Companies are in the Early Stages of Social Media Marketing
14% of B2B Companies are not using Social Media Marketing
It’s very easy to talk about technology, big data, CRM platforms, cloud computing and all that good stuff. But I believe that its time to peel back the onion and start digging a little deeper.
Here are some key questions we should start to explore broken down by the familiar People, Process & Technology:
(1) People: Who is responsible internally to execute and plan a social CRM program? Is it support, a community manager, marketing and sales? What if an agency is managing a brand’s social channels? How does that work? What kind of reporting is needed to determine success? Who is responsible for analytics? How do you navigate within an organization that is plagued with organizational silos (hate that word, but they still do exist)? What are the best practices to achieve buy in from other departments i.e. support, IT, operations, etc.? What’s in it for these groups to a) participate b) invest budget into a social CRM program c) invest time and resources supporting cross functional teams and d) hire the right staff to do the job. Who owns the customer experience? Is an owner even needed? How do you get “buy in” from executive management? More importantly, how do get executive management to begin to change their behaviors instead of just talking about it?
(2) Process: What kind of processes are needed to create and manage workflow? How do I create a customer support decision tree? What about sales? Is there an opportunity to leverage social CRM best practices for sales reps? If so, what’s the process for them to get involved? Should there be a training program? If so, what does the curriculum entail? What about crisis management? Whose responsibility is it to create, manage and execute a crisis management protocol when the time arises? Who is responsible for gathering all the data, analyzing it, and then extracting “actionable” insights for the organization? And more importantly, what is the process to ensure that those insights are executed in order to close the loop?
(3) Technology: There are many different vendors in the space, what’s the best technology for monitoring the conversation? What about engagement (yes, engagement is important to social CRM)? Is one, integrated tool more effective or are multiple tools okay to get the job done? What are best practices for integrating the traditional CRM platform with today’s tools? What about a real time command center? Is that important and how does that work? Is that an operation that needs to be manned 24/7? What about IT? Should they be involved in this process? Who should pay for all this technology?
These are many questions that I hear from clients and people in the space. Not just the decision makers but the folks on the front lines who are managing and engaging in customer relationships day in and day out, usually community managers. And by the way, many of these community managers are jumping head first into these issues – learning, sometimes making mistakes, adjusting their approach, etc. They are engaging, yes engaging; creating workflows, managing vendors and working with traditional CRM systems, managing analytics and more importantly many of them are drivers of change in the organization.
Perhaps its time to move beyond social CRM as a topic or phrase.
And as I think more about it, all of the questions above latter up to something much bigger – something more than just customer experience, technology, CRM and community. It really is the shift and transformation to a social business. And, it’s probably not a coincidence that the Social Business Strategy Summit is featuring mostly speakers from the CRM space. I am certain we will see a lot more of this in the future.
It’s no argument that social CRM is ONE component of the customer & technology ecosystem. It’s ONE piece of the puzzle that organizations need to put together in order to change the way they communicate and engage with employees, partners, customers and even the media. It’s just ONE attribute and proficiency needed to help companies evolve into a social organization. Perhaps its time we move beyond social CRM and focus on the bigger picture.
And much like social media was in the early days when it was an after thought in most marketing organizations, research and experience proves that it’s now an integral part of most marketing budgets, initiatives and strategic imperatives.
I believe the same will happen with social business. Social business initiatives will soon be generally accepted business practices like Six Sigma, GAAP, ISO 9000, BPM, TQM, etc. It’s just a matter of time.What do you think? Is this blasphemy?
The social customer has been gaining influence since the birth of the Internet. Their daily journey is dynamic and they interact with a variety of media & content in different ways (i.e. Twitter, Facebook, RSS, mobile, search, etc.) As a result, they filter out the noise (Twitter lists, circles, general attention, etc.) in an effort to consume only the content that is relevant to them at a specific moment in time. They are influential regardless of how many friends, fans and followers they have. One minute they might love the brand and then next minute they may hate the brand, depending on their experiences. We are all social customers and they should be taken seriously – think Netflix, Verizon Wireless, Bank of America etc.
In response to the social customer, brands began (and still do) to create channels in order to engage with them, many times without much planning. Smart companies are trying to turn friends, fans and followers into customer advocates. They do so by being human, authentic and providing relevant content — the right content, at the right time, in the right channel to the right customer. Why? Advocates affect the purchase funnel. Though organic conversations (whether good or bad) they are aiding and influencing their own micro-communities down the purchase funnel.
Many brands today are now realizing that there is chaos in the organization thanks to social media. Unfortunately, many employees just don’t know how to behave online and many are getting fired for posting questionable content within their personal social media accounts. This is because there are no policies, training and education in place. Also, there is a confusion of roles & responsibilities – marketing wants to own social media, PR wants to own social media and customer support is wondering how they can get involved. There is zero internal communication resulting in multiple social channels with no clear goals or alignment. Everyone is measuring social media differently and yes, organizational silos are alive and well.
Lastly, there needs to be value creation between the social customer, the brand and the way it communicates, and the business by implementing change in process, behavior; as well as product innovation. In a nutshell:
B2B social media is about connecting with prospects and customers,
providing value to their business and tracking those interactions to
leads and sales.
One of the beautiful things about digital B2B marketing is the ability to attribute behavior and engagement for prospects across a variety of channels that may be included in our marketing mix. Where things get a bit sticky is determining how attribution figures into revenue generation. For a simple transactional sale, this may be easier as sales cycles are shorter and less clicks are usually required. But, for a complex sale, attribution becomes a bigger challenge.
The mandate for B2B marketers today is to prove that their online marketing programs are contributing to downstream revenues. Determining how attribution is used can vary those results by quite a bit.
Take the example that Adobe uncovered in their recent report. The difference for retail companies that applied first-click attribution over last-click attribution is 88% higher using fist-click. The report contends that social media is used earlier in the buy cycle to generate awareness and engagement and that applying the credit to whatever the shopper clicks on last, right before purchase, discounts the role social media plays in driving revenues.
This is a great example to start with. Sure, retail is more transactional in the example, but if you think about the number of clicks involved in a complex B2B marketing-to-sales process, using either first or last click to determine ROI will definitely reduce the value of a lot of elements in play during the buyer's journey.
This is why a content marketing strategy is so important. It's also why technology and analytics are so darn valuable.
Think about your marketing mix for a minute. Let's say you are using the following geared to address the priorities of a specific target market (persona):
If the prevailing trend is for a buyer to either visit the demo or the calculator prior to initiating contact with sales, it may be that tools like those get more credit than they deserve when reporting on ROI.
Or, because registrations for webinars are directly attributable, it may be thought that they payoff handsomely for lead generation when the reality could be that without your Twitter promotion, your webinar registration would have been 40% lower.
What's needed is to consider all of the conversion or transition points for your marketing programs and measure ROI based on what they are designed to accomplish in concert.
Every content asset and marketing mix element needs to have a goal for a conversion within the buying journey that contributes to the overall revenue generation process. The ability to string these conversions together and show how each contributed to achieving the end result determines the ROI of the strategy, not each individual component as a standalone tactic.
Getting to this type of ROI analysis takes hard work, focus and technology. But it's what makes the world of eMarketing and digital strategy so dang compelling.
It all starts with shifting the way we've always thought about and done it in the past.
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